Archive for the ‘China’ Category

加油-ing Through It: Nervousness Turned Into A New Perspective

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Ah! Goodness…I am leaving next week! Next Wednesday! Goodness! A part of me can’t believe it and another part wonders if I am going to end up crying on my mother’s shoulder in the airport.

For the past week, I have been extremely nervous — EXTREMELY nervous…about this new adventure that I am about to begin.Forced-Perspective-Photography-4

I would say that most would think of me as a person who is very focused and who understands the importance of being able to overcome challenges in order to maximize one’s potential. I remember when I was planning to go abroad and thinking, “I am READY!”  and “I got this!” Of course, at the time, I was drowning under 19 credits of college work and wishing I was anywhere but on campus.

It didn’t factor in at ALL that I would be nervous. Shirley? Nervous? Please! Shirley overcomes nervousness in three seconds! Yet…this time, it was beginning to sink in that I was actually nervous and that just…”加油”ing… through it wasn’t going to cut it this time.

I wouldn’t be seeing my mother and brother for thirteen entire months. I’d be in a place where there are barely any people who look like me. The whole hyperawareness that I would have to learn to deal with again…to a MUCH higher degree this time? That was definitely a shock in Taiwan last summer.  Thankfully, I was informed about this before I went. Even so, nothing prepares you for the actual feel of it! And, AND, AND… I was SO nervous about my goal to attain fluency in Chinese! I though things like, “What if I can’t learn it???” and “What if I make NO progress!?” “What if ” this, that, and everything else!

I understand that it is an invaluable skill to be able to prove that you can live in different environments for an extended period of time. It is even better, as my professor told me, to show that you can live in areas that reflect the regional diversity of China. I know that the ability to do so will serve me extremely well in the future.  I KNOW that I have to be fluent in Chinese. I KNOW this whole thing is essential to my future. I KNOW I have to stick it out and I DO NOT see myself AT ALL running back home PERIOD…but none of that means this is going to be easy.

I realized that I was actually going to have to sort through I am feeling about this. It was extremely helpful to speak to people who understand my nervousness. I received an excellent perspective…everything should be thought of in terms of curiosity. That is true!  People are going to want to take photos with me because they will be excited to see a foreigner. Being black in China is going to be even more significant a sight than seeing any other foreigner. For me, I will have millions of opportunities to practice Chinese because of that fact. See! There are a lot of plus sides to this! :-)

angelou_freeI lost focus, I became so consumed by my nervousness that I forgot… it is going to serve me well that I am such an outgoing and humorous person. Laughter is going to get me through a lot.  I am prepared to face the coming challenges! As I always say…”I got this!” These feelings of nervousness taught me that I need to sort through them when the feeling comes…not everything is about charging through. I think it was good that I was honest with myself. I am sure that I am going to have culture shock and it will be a process transitioning to the culture. Even so, I seek to make China my home! Maya Angelou’s quote is appropriate here… in my nervousness, I focused too much on whether or not I would “belong” in China, but I belong there just as I would belong anyplace that I set my sights on. It’s going to be great to get to know people, travel, and see how I grow from such an experience.

A quote comes to mind from Ruchir Sharma’s “Breakout Nations,” a book that I read in my Developing Countries class in college: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” I am sure that firsthand experience will teach me a lot about the reality of China, making my initial concerns amusing. :-)

This is MY time! It will be amazing to see how far I can take this! :-D

加油!!!

 


Travel Itinerary

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I received a lot of emails after my last blog entry so thank you for that ^^. It’s nice to know that people are reading my blog and either sympathizing or have had similar experiences. I see that class again tomorrow so we’ll see how it goes. However, it’s my last week of classes. Not even last week, really, as it’s a half week… my last teaching day is on Wednesday and then I’m off!

I’m probably only going to blog once more before I leave because I have too much to do before I leave! I have to pack, finish planning my winter camp, etc. However I feel that it’s necessary to update at least once more to give you pictures of my home, and a sampling of my travels in Korea where I’ve been because, gosh darn it, I can’t let half of my grant year slip by without posting any original pictures! That would be horrible.

So if I stop teaching on December 22nd and don’t teach until March 2nd, what am I going to be doing with my life?! Simply put – awesome things.

  • December 24th – December 27th: \I’ll be in Seoul for Christmas with my lovely fellow ETA Michelle and maybe some KEP people. We’re going to watch the Nutcracker, ice skate, eat pie (I’m so excited for pie), and just relax.
  • December 27th – January 16th: I’m flying out of Incheon Airport and going to China! I’ll be in China with fellow ETAs Felicia and Amy. Expect a fair amount of radio silence, though I’ll update my facebook/twitter sporadically with things like “I’m alive! I promise.” If you don’t have a facebook and I don’t email you regularly (i.e. you’re not a relative) and you want to get my weekly short message of alivedness just send me your email address and I’ll try to be good about contact.
  • January 17th – 21st: I have a winter camp at my school. I’m still not sure of the details. Should be fun?
  • January 22nd – whenever: I’ll be in up in the frigid north for the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival 2010 with random ETAs (but probably Megan and Corrie as our Hwacheonites, Amy and Felicia as my China travel buddies, and maybe Sam my fellow Baekje warrior)!
  • January whenever-I’m-done-with-Hwacheon - February whenever-I-want-to-go-home-and-rest-before-the-3rd: I’ll be traveling around Korea. Not sure where yet, seeing what I feel like doing.
  • February 3rd – March 1st: I’ll be doing an intense language program back in Goesan, which is where I originally did my F*bright orientation!  I’ll be studying Korean for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week along with 40 other grantees. It should be fun? Horrible, horrible, fun. The sad thing is I really do think it’ll be really really fun, but I guess I’m just a huge language geek. 화이딩!

I’m very excited about my schedule, even if it is a lot fuller than I realized. My school and homestay family have been nothing but nice to me, but I’m ready to take a break. It’ll be nice to get out of Yesan for a bit, even if I’ll be spending all of February in a place that’s practically the same, just a bit smaller. It’ll also be nice to spend some time outside of Korea. I’m sad that I won’t be going home and seeing my family/friends, but that’s life and if I had gone home I wouldn’t be able to do all these amazing things here. All of you reading this blogpost that have access to a Chipotle go to one and eat a burrito for my sake.

That being said, look for one more update then in all honesty I probably won’t update until March. Maybe once during my camp week, but don’t wait up for me. Be back in the spring! Love you all <3.